For nearly a week, I fought a persistent head and chest cold that dropped my voice by two octaves, when I could use it at all. It was that stuffy-headed, sore-throated, chest-congested, generally miserable feeling that some folks call the “crud.” My late grandmother, Bubba, would have called it the “epazootis.”

Whatever you call it, after struggling through my Monday afternoon class, it wasn’t getting any better, so I did was commonly done these days – I made an online appointment, went up to the Urgent Care center, saw a medical technician and then had a brief conversation with a PA (physician’s assistant), who gave me a sample of a nasal spray and wrote a prescription for a Z-Pak.

Ah, the magical Z-Pak. Azithromycin has been the drug of choice for that sort of infection for some years now. I remember getting it in a five-dose pack that started with two pills, then one a day for the next three days. This time, my Z-Pak was a 3-pack, and midway through the next day, I could tell I was turning the corner. Though my voice still sounds like a would-be Morgan Freeman, I fully expect to be up to speed in a couple more days.

Z-Paks are now available as generic azithromycin, so the drug is not only near magical, but cheap. I know the concerns many doctors have about the overuse of antibiotics, so I won’t tout it too highly, but the drug’s broad scale effectiveness and ease of use leaves me wondering if it’s not at least partly responsible for the burgeoning shift to PA’s as the primary caregiver many people see, even when they visit their family physician.

I don’t know about that, but I count it as one of God’s many blessings, nevertheless.

As I started feeling better, however, one of my closest friends, who was in town to speak to one of my classes and to a campus organization at Campbell, had a scary allergic reaction to some tuna he ate in a local restaurant.

Then it was time to be thankful for 911 and the EMT-Pak.

After a full-service treatment by the paramedics and a few hours in the Betsy Johnson Hospital emergency room, he’s feeling better, too.

Thank God again.

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